‘She Deserves Respect’- Zhang Weili Lauds Rose Namajunas Ahead of their Title Fight Scrap at UFC 261

Published 04/05/2021, 5:30 AM EDT
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – MARCH 07: Zhang Weili of China prepares to fight Joanna Jedrzejczyk of Poland in their UFC strawweight championship fight during the UFC 248 event at T-Mobile Arena on March 07, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)


UFC 115-pound champion Zhang Weili spoke to CGTN Sports Scene as her second title defense at UFC 261 draws near. ‘Magnum’ had plenty to share regarding her training regime, as well as her streamlined attention towards Rose Namajunas. Fighting ‘Thug’ will probably be the most comprehensive test of her career based on the skills of the former champion.

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Rose Namajunas avenged her loss to Jessica Andrade in her last fight and is back on the path for gold. She’s faced some of the most accomplished names in women’s MMA and proven time and again that she belongs. Namajunas has an opportunity to become one of the very best strawweights if she wins, and it’s up to Weili to prevent that from happening.

SHENZHEN, CHINA – AUGUST 31: Zhang Weili of China celebrates after her knockout victory over Jessica Andrade of Brazil in their UFC strawweight championship bout during the UFC Fight Night event at Shenzhen Universiade Sports Centre on August 31, 2019 in Shenzhen, China. (Photo by Brandon Magnus/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC)

The 21-1 fighter has shown that she can wade through deep waters based on her last performance against Joanna Jedrzejczyk. While Namajunas leans more heavily on her technical abilities, she doesn’t shy away from a scrap. The fight could potentially be a barn-burner and steal the show in front of 15,000 UFC fans.

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Zhang Weili praises her UFC 261 opponent

Despite the fierce competitive rivalry between Weili and Namajunas, there seems to be plenty of mutual respect. During her exclusive sitdown, Zhang Weili praised ‘Thug’ Rose for the excellence she’s shown in the cage. Moreover, Weili also broke down her views towards becoming friends through the thrill and agony of combat.

SHENZHEN, CHINA – AUGUST 31: Zhang Weili of China prepares to fight Jessica Andrade of Brazil in their UFC strawweight championship bout during the UFC Fight Night event at Shenzhen Universiade Sports Centre on August 31, 2019 in Shenzhen, China. (Photo by Brandon Magnus/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC)

“Rose is really strong, and she beat Joanna twice. She’s also humble, and always ready to learn. I saw on social media that she was practicing Wing Chun, Chinese Kung Fu. I think she deserves respect.”

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“We are both fighters exploring different ideas about martial arts…Fighting doesn’t always mean you see someone as your enemy, but through fighting, we can know each other better and become friends.”

It’s a matter of time before the aforementioned elite strawweights square off under the bright lights of the cage. Some might argue that the fight is flying under the radar based on the legacy building variable that’s on the table for both women. However, despite all the extraneous factors, both Weili and Namajunas have proven that they always bring the heat on fight night.

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Darryl Pinto

1478 articles

Darryl Pinto is a senior MMA writer at EssentiallySports. He is currently pursuing his graduate degree in Mass Media (with a specialization in Journalism) out of Xavier’s College and has a year's experience in his current role. Darryl specializes in predictions, reporting, and covering UFC events live.

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